KUALA LUMPUR: The Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) will be taking enforcement action against manufacturers or importers of non-medical face masks who fail to comply with the newly set safety standards.
The ministry is not going after members of the public who wear non-medical face masks as some Netizens have claimed on social media.
The confusion amongst members of the public came about following a statement on April 5 in which KPDNHEP had said non-medical masks have been gazetted under the Trade Descriptions (Certification and Marking) Order, under the Trade Descriptions Act 2011.
It said manufacturers and importers of non-medical face masks will now be required to apply for MS Sirim certification and marking from Sirim QAS International Sdn Bhd as the authority appointed by the ministry.
Failure to do so, the ministry said companies will be facing fines up to RM200,000, while individuals (manufacturers or importers of non-medical face masks) will be facing fines up to RM100,000 or prison sentences not exceeding three years or both. For a second or subsequent offences, a fine not exceeding RM250,000 or imprisonment no more than five years or both.
The order will take effect July 4.
The “individuals” mentioned in the ministry’s official statement refer to personnel in the business of manufacturing and importing non-medical face masks and not members of the public.
Netizens, however, have misconstrued the statement, taking to Twitter to express their dismay over the supposed “RM100,000 and RM250,000 fine” for the individual public.
Some even commented that they would have to rush to use up their non-medical grade face masks before the July 4 deadline.
“The government is going to issue a compound of RM100,000 if we use face masks without Sirim markings. What is your choice of face masks now?”, an account with 21.3k followers wrote on Twitter.
“I have just stocked up on KF94 and KN95 masks for my family. We are trying to use up our current stock of non-medical grade face masks before July 4,” wrote another user.
This, however, is not the case and has only fuelled further misinformation.
The ministry had said importers and manufacturers should ensure the MS Sirim markings are placed on the box or package that are easily visible to consumers.
“The MS Sirim markings on the non-medical masks would ensure it has fulfilled the safety standards; are good quality and safe to be used,” it added.
With the gazette enforced, the ministry hopes the issue of dumping of non-medical masks of poor quality masks in the market will be resolved in compliance with standards by manufacturers and importers.
Source: New Straits Times